In Australia, the regulator behind the nation’s thoroughbred horseracing industry will reportedly implement new rules from next month that have been designed to further deter its members from placing wagers with illegal offshore sportsbetting operators.

Mobiles and computers may be seized:

According to a Sunday report from The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, the fresh regulations are due to come into force from August 1 and give Racing Australia the ability to seize the mobile telephones and computers of any member its suspects of lodging bets with unlicensed firms.

The newspaper reported that the new rules are to cover anyone that is subject to Racing Australia’s policies such as horse owners and trainers and will moreover encompass a system of stiff financial penalties.

Chief Executive Officer for Racing Australia, Barry O’Farell, to The Sydney Morning Herald…

“This is simply about prohibiting participants betting with non-approved offshore wagering operators because it’s a significant risk for the industry. The stewards have no visibility as to who is betting with them and therefore have no powers to acquire the production of a customer’s betting records. That obviously limits the ability of the racing integrity agencies to inquire and investigate relating to those matters.”

Lost race-field fees continue to mount:

The newspaper reported that a 2015 review into offshore wagering conducted by Racing Australia estimated that unlicensed bookmakers annually cost the nation’s horseracing industry around $295 million via lost race-field fees. The report additionally projected that this amount could grow to as high as $664 million by 2020 as punters are continually lured to offshore sites promising anonymity and better odds.

Regulator left red-faced:

However, the newspaper reported that Racing Australia was itself embarrassed in early-2016 after it emerged that the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority, which had been under its jurisdiction, had granted a sportsbetting license to BetHQ even though the operation had links with prominent illegal bookmaker Citibet.

New regulations welcomed:

The new rules have reportedly been welcomed by local regulator, Racing New South Wales, as well as the body that represents the Australian online wagering sector, Racing Wagering Australia. The latter’s Executive Director, Stephen Conroy, declared that unlicensed sites ‘continue to actively target and undermine Australian racing every day’ before describing the updated policy as ‘a positive development for the racing industry.’